New research has today revealed the shocking numbers of private renters in the Midlands suffering at the hands of a rogue landlord, with approximately 120,000 experiencing an act by their landlord that could have resulted in legal action. The survey by Shelter and YouGov revealed alarming reports from renters including landlords threatening, harassing or assaulting them, cutting off utilities, not carrying out gas safety checks, and entering their homes without permission.
In just the last year, almost 17,000 people have called the Shelter helpline about problems with their landlord. The housing charity is warning that a small minority of rogue landlords are causing chaos in the lives of renters, who often don’t know what their rights are or where to go for support and advice.
Shelter’s director of services, Alison Mohammed said: “It’s shocking that a small minority of rogue landlords who are exploiting the housing crisis can cause so much havoc and misery in the lives of renters in the Midlands.
“The only way to fix the problem long-term is to make renting fit for purpose for the millions of ordinary families searching for a safe and stable home. For anybody experiencing problems right now, Shelter gives them somewhere to turn for support and legal advice when a rogue landlord crosses the line.”
Case study: Soon after Chris and his new wife moved into a rented flat, they found some major problems with the house. But instead of carrying out repairs, their landlord made their lives a misery and finally assaulted Chris.
Chris said: “There was damp in the bedroom – black walls basically. There was a leaking roof which went on for months, and we had no gas safety certificate. I counted 18 things wrong with the place but the landlord refused to carry out most of the repairs.
“Eventually we found out the building was at risk of collapse, so I asked him to sort the problems out or we’d take him to court. But instead he started intimidating us by entering our home without permission and we got a repossession order from the court out of the blue. Then one day he became really aggressive and hurled some stones at me. We both just felt so frightened.”
Shelter’s helpline adviser, Mark Cook said: “Every day at Shelter we speak to people desperate for help because their lives are being made unbearable by a rogue landlord. Some of their experiences are truly awful – from renters who have been illegally evicted and had their belongings burned, to those who’ve had their utilities cut off because their landlord wants to intimidate them.
“No-one should have to put up with a landlord who breaks the law and it’s so important to know your rights as a renter. Shelter is here to help anyone having problems with their landlord. Our free expert advice is available online at shelter.org.uk/advice or through our helpline 0808 800 4444.”